MONROE — After indefinitely suspending in-person court appearances in an emergency order March 19 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Green County Circuit Court issued guidelines the next day clarifying the suspension.
The courts will remain open through April 17, “or upon further order,” but only for certain essential hearings and with consideration given to social distancing and telephone or video conferencing when possible. The Green County Jail already has the technology set up for inmates to appear by video, for example.
Essential hearings include those for temporary restraining orders and injunctions, juvenile delinquency detention, mental health commitments and in-custody initial appearances.
The coronavirus “heath situation constitutes good cause for all proceedings involving out-of-custody defendants to be rescheduled until after April 17,” the order states, “or held by telephone or video conference.” The order was signed by Green County’s two judges, James Beer and Thomas Vale.
Rescheduling for cases "not deemed high priority" will be delayed until after May 15.
In-custody defendants who are being held on any basis other than an open Green County case will proceed as scheduled. On a case-by-case basis, the court may also modify bond for any defendant being held on a $1,000 or lower cash bond.
Hearings for civil, family and other non-criminal cases will also generally only be held, when possible, by phone. All small claims matters scheduled before April 17 are postponed, as are most matters requiring in-person appearances.
The Clerk of Court’s office at the Green County Justice Center is staffed and open but will remain closed to the public. Cash payments are prohibited "during this period of extraordinary circumstances."
A dropbox is provided outside the office for the public to file documents or to drop off check or money order payments. Payments are also accepted at wicourts.gov. Staff is available to answer questions at 608-328-9433.
Complete, up-to-date information on the order and on guidelines for specific types of cases is available at greencountycourts.com.